Saudi Arabia on Sunday reported four deaths resulting from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), commonly known as coronavirus, saying this brings to eight the total number of fatalities within 24 hours. In an update on its website, the Saudi Health Ministry said the latest fatalities include a 9-month infant from Riyadh and three people in Jeddah.

According to the ministry, the four deaths bring to eight the number of coronavirus fatalities within 24 hours. The ministry also reported 16 new cases of infections, bringing to 339 the total number of registered cases since MERS struck Saudi Arabia in September 2012.

In April alone, Saudi Arabia detected 177 virus infections. The country's newly-appointed Health Minister Adel bin Mohamed Faqiah said on Saturday that his ministry would specify three centers for the treatment of the virus.

Along with Saudi Arabia, the virus, which can cause fever and pneumonia, has been reported in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Jordan and Oman.

MERS, for which no known cure is available, destroys the lungs and kidneys. It is presumed that long-term physical contact can lead to infection.